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Privacy and You

In today’s online connected world it can be hard to keep your privacy, especially if you do not want people to know what you are up to for whatever reason that may be. We here did some research and will share what we found as well as the resources from which we found them. I hope this can help some folks with the concerns they have over their social and online privacy/identity!

Social Media:
Check your Facebook settings and make sure only friends can see what you’re doing. Go to the settings cog in the upper right hand corner of your screen, then click on Privacy Settings >> Who can see my stuff.

On Twitter, click on the settings cog, then Settings. From there you can adjust all sorts of privacy settings, such as a box that gives Twitter permission to add your location to tweets as well as the ability to make your tweets private, meaning only people you approve can see them. You can also stop the microblogging platform from tailoring your Twitter experience based on other sites you visit.

If you use Google+, go to Home >> Settings. There you can adjust things like who can interact with you, comment on your posts or start a conversation with you.
Don’t fill out your social media profile.

The more information you share online, the easier it’s going to be for someone to get their hands on it. Don’t cooperate.

Take a look at your social media profiles and keep them barren—the people who need to know your birth date, email address and phone number already have them. And what exactly is the point of sharing everything about yourself in your Facebook profile? If you care about your privacy, you won’t do it.
Check your phone’s privacy settings

Turning your GPS location settings to “off” can also keep your family’s whereabouts more private.
Adjust Facebook privacy settings to help protect your identity

The default is to make your entry available to all of your friends and networks – which could contain hundreds or thousands of people.

When you first register, just add the basic information about yourself, then click on the ‘Privacy’ option at the top of the screen, adjust the privacy settings and only then add more information to your profile.

You may then wish to review your privacy settings and your profile information as you become more confident in using Facebook.

If you decide to make a picture of yourself available in search listings results, you could consider using an image which isn’t immediately obviously you e.g. a caricature or a photo where you’re obscured slightly.

…and if your main profile picture includes someone else, then make sure you’ve checked with them that they’re happy for you to use it!
Tips on ‘Profile’ privacy settings

Set to “Only My Friends”
Set “Photos tagged of you” and “Videos tagged of you” to “Only My Friends”
Contact information: consider setting this to “No-one” (the default is “Only My Friends”)

Tips on ‘Search’ privacy settings

‘Who can find me in search’ – Default is “all my networks and all of my friends”.
Only choose “Everyone” if you are willing to let anyone see you are in Facebook
Deselect the “Allow my public search listing to be indexed by external search engines”
Think carefully about who you allow to become your friend

Once you have accepted someone as your friend they will be able to access any information about you (including photographs) that you have marked as viewable by your friends.

Share pictures with people only once you’ve accepted them as friends.

Make virtual friends only with people you know – if you have doubts over identity, then double-check before accepting the person as a friend. If still in doubt, don’t accept them.

Remember, just replying to an unknown contact to ask ‘who are you?’ can give the person temporary access to your Facebook profile, depending on the level of privacy settings you have chosen.

You can remove friends at any time should you change your mind about someone.
Use the ‘restricted’ option to show a cut-down version of your profile

You can choose to add people to the ‘restricted’ list. This means they will only have access to a cut-down version of your profile if you wish.

This can be useful if you have associates who you do not wish to give full friend status to, or feel uncomfortable sharing personal information with.

For General Online activity :

Check for the https://

Before entering payment details into any website, check the web address has an ‘s’ – which stands for secure – after the http. If it doesn’t, don’t use it.
Turn on private browsing.

If you don’t want anyone with physical access to your computer to see where you’re hanging out online you should enable “private browsing,” a setting available in each major web browser. It deletes cookies, temporary Internet files and browsing history after you close the window.

Every company that advertises online is interested in knowing what sites you visit, what you buy, who you’re friends with on social networks, what you like and more. By gathering information about your online activities they can serve you targeted ads that are more likely to entice you to buy something.

For instance, the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ buttons you see on just about every site allow those networks to track you even if you don’t have an account or are logged into them. Other times information collection companies rely on embedded code in banner ads that track your visits, preferences, and demographic information.

If you truly care about your privacy you’ll surf the Internet anonymously by hiding your IP address. You can do this using a web proxy, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Tor, a free open network that works by routing your traffic through a series of servers, operated by volunteers around the world, before sending it to your destination.
The Onion Router (Tor)

If anonymity is what you’re after, The Onion Router (Tor) is what you need. It uses a vast network of computers to route your Web traffic through a number of encrypted layers to obscure the origin of the traffic. Tor is a vital tool for political dissidents and whistleblowers to anonymously share information, and you can just as easily use it to help protect your privacy.

Without a doubt, the easiest way to get started is by downloading the Tor Browser Bundle. This customized branch of Firefox automatically connects to the Tor network, and includes some of the privacy-enhancing browser extensions discussed later in this post. This package has everything you need to use Tor successfully, but you’ll also need to change your web surfing behavior to retain as much anonymity as possible. You need to make sure to abide by the Tor warnings, and remember that this isn’t a magic bullet for internet privacy. It still has weaknesses.
Also another important part is passwords!!! Make them hard, difficult and your security questions should not be real answers one could google!!
I hope this helps some folk out!

The ultimate guide to staying anonymous and protecting your privacy online

Sources:

http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/insrv/it/help/safe/facebook.html
11 Simple Ways to Protect Your Privacy
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet-security/10509121/10-ways-to-protect-your-online-identity.html

Damien Ferguson
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Damien Ferguson

I am DarkAngelDamien, or Damien Ferguson depending on where you know me from in the community! I have been around the vampire, therian, otherkin and magic communities for many years. In those years I have learned a lot, asked a lot of questions and seen a lot. So I want to share with you the things I have learned.
Damien Ferguson
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